UNITED FRONT OF STRUGGLE OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA [Eknas Front PEPERA PB]
‘SAFEGUARDING THE HISTORY OF THE MORNING STAR’
The mega project, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate – MIFEE – was announced on 18 February 2010 by the former Bupati of Merauke, J.G
Gebze and officially launched on 11 August 2010 by the Minister of Agriculture, Siswono Yodohusodo on behalf of the President. The project
will involve 36 investors, 13 of whom are already operating in the area. The project will cover an area of 2.5 million hectares and bring into
the area a work force of four million people.
MIFEE will have an impact on every aspect of the lives of all indigenous Papuan people, particularly the Anim Ha customary people in South Papua.
The project which has been declared a National Food Granary is unacceptable to the local communities. On 8 August 2010, the customary
Ha Anim people sent a letter to President Yudhoyono but the Indonesian State has ignored the Ha Anim people’s rejection of this project.
The attitude of the government is in contravention of the principles of democracy that have been adopted by the Indonesian state. Any legal
instrument or policy that the government intends to adopt must conform with genuine democratic mechanisms. We herewith make seven points that
would comply with these democratic mechanisms, which the government should take account of in the implementation of this project:
One, in recognition of the aspirations of the people, any government policy should be acceptable to the people after having been made public.
In the case of MIFEE, this has not happened. The MIFEE project was on the working agenda of the SBY-Budiono regime for a hundred days and it
was never made public. The decision to launch the MIFEE project did not involve the people who have customary rights over the land; there were
no meaningful negotiations in compliance with rights and responsibilities taking into account the needs of the people. In other
words, the government and the investors regard this region of Papua as being land that doesn’t belong to anyone. The government and the
investors are not interested in the people but only in the land and its natural resources.
Two, the aspirations of the people as well as the policy of the government should be drawn up within a legal framework. In the case of
MIFEE, the interests of the Indonesian state are involved and therefore during the one hundred day period, the SBY-Budiono government entered
into a Memorandum of Understanding – MoU – with the foreign investors, after which the MoU was adopted as a draft regional regulation – RAPERDA
– of the district of Merauke.
Three, the results of these decisions should have been discussed with the people. In the case of MIFEE, neither the MoU nor the RAPERDA were
discussed with the people. Nor did the plans that were drawn up involve the customary people, the owners of the land. Neither the Indonesian
government nor the local government did anything to publicise the MoU or the RAPERDA.
Four, adoption of the legal documents. The MoU entered into by the SBY-Budiono government during the one hundred day preparatory period was
adopted as Regional Regulation (Perda) No 23 by the Bupati of Merauke, John Gluba Gebze.
Five, there was no announcement of the decision that had been taken regarding the MIFEE project. As is always the case in Papua, the
decisions were not made known to the people: neither the MoU nor the Perda were made known to the customary owners of the land.
Six, adoption of a legal decision. The announcement of the MIFEE project by John Gluba Getze on 12 February, 2010, the 108^th anniversary of the
town of Merauke, was officially announced on 11 August 2010 by the minister of agriculture, Siswono on behalf of the President of Indonesia.
Seven, should the decision fail to comply with the interests of the people, it should be revoked, either because (a) it is ineffective or
(b) the decision in question should be amended if it is lacking in any material way. In the case of MIFEE, the Indonesian state closed its ears
to the many protests made by the indigenous people, by observers and by NGO activists. This is obvious from the fact that thirteen companies are
already operating in Merauke.
As regards the social implications, the number of inhabitants in each kampong could decline sharply and they will become a minority as
compared to ethnic groups brought in from outside Papua, a situation that will become even worse with the arrival of four million low-paid
workers, some of whom have already arrived and who will continue to arrive to work on the MIFEE project. The companies and the government
have never involved the local communities in any decision-making or other mechanisms in compliance with the basic daily needs and customs of
the local communities. The local inhabitants have become mere spectators. These violations have become part of the ‘culture’ of the
companies and the government with MIFEE serving the interests of the Indonesian state and the foreign investors. As a result, social problems
are emerging, such as ethnic cleansing or genocide which infringe the ethical and moral principles of the local tribes and the indigenous
Papuan people in general.
In view of all the above and in order to safeguard the people and land of Papua from the threat posed by the mega MIFEE project, a meeting was
held on 4 June at the OFS Convent, attended by young Papuans and students, primarily from South Papua . It was decided to set up the
Papuan People’s Solidarity to Reject MIFEE or SORPATOM.
One of its activities was the public discussion held on 11 August in Jayapura the theme of which was: ‘Investments in Papua, especially
MIFEE: A catastrophe or a blessing for the Indigenous Papuan people?’
In view of the threats posed by investments, in particular the MIFEE Mega Project, we hereby declare:
1. We support the position adopted by the Ha Nim indigenous people and their sympathisers who reject the MIFEE project on their land
because it poses a threat to the right to life of the local communities.
2. We urge the Indonesian state – SBY – to repeal the MoU about MIFEE.
3. We urge the local government to immediately revoke PERDA No 23 about MIFEE.
4. We call on the provincial assembly, the DPRP, to hold a hearing attended by all those affected, to discuss the MIFEE project.
5. We call on all those who are concerned with safeguarding the people and the land to close ranks and reject every form of
investment which poses a threat to the right to life of the local communities, especially the MIFEE project.
Port Numbay, Thursday, 30 September 2010
[Translated by TAPOL]